FDDS Admission

Admission Criteria

The award-winning Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars (FDDS) program has emerged as one of the nation's best leadership development, career readiness, and graduate preparation programs. Our mission is to elevate the ideas, influence, and impact of enterprising students for socially responsible leadership, post-baccalaureate education, and lifelong achievement. We bring together student leaders with rare talent and develop them for success in creative industries, communications, government, law, science, technology, business, entrepreneurship, education, medicine, health, and international service. 

How The Program Benefits Our Scholars

Scholarships: Every Scholar receives full tuition, as well as mandatory fees, U-Pass, books, on-campus housing, and a generous meal plan. This scholarship is renewable for a total of four years of undergraduate study, provided scholars satisfy academic performance and program requirements.

Customized Career and Academic Planning: Each Scholar creates and implements a personal and professional development plan of action, tailored to his or her short-term and long-term goals.

Leadership Development: Scholars are prepared to lead with confidence, vision, and inspiration.


The program is exclusively for incoming first-year undergraduate students who have an expressed interest in leadership development, career readiness, and completing graduate and/or professional school. The program annually admits a cohort of five high-achieving student leaders from a wide range of backgrounds. Student leaders may apply during their final year of high school or within four years of receiving your high school diploma/GED. Undergraduate Admissions and the FDDS Selection Committee will assess candidates based on their outstanding self-awareness, leadership experience, first-rate social skills, creative ability, recommendation letters, personal qualities, and demonstrated interest in attending graduate and/or professional school. While we encourage applications from all ambitious, well-rounded student leaders, the most competitive applicants will:

  • have a minimum 3.8 GPA (unweighted) or 4.0 GPA (weighted);
  • aspire to earn a graduate and/or professional degree;
  • and be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Historically underrepresented minority students and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Finalists will be interviewed on campus.